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Lewis v Yellow Freight System, Inc.; (COA-PUB, 3/19/1979; RB #175)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 77-2614; Pubilshed   
Judges Bronson, Maher, and Letts   
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 89 Mich App 66; Link to Opinion alt   

State Workers Compensation Benefits [§3109(1)]   
Exception for Employer Provided Vehicles [§3114(3)]

Workers Disability Compensation Act (MCL 418.1, et seq.)    

Consistent with the decision in Hubert above, the Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision by Judge Maher, expressly adopted the reasoning of Judge Allen's dissent in Ottenwess v Hawkeye Security (item number 94) and held that an employee who is injured while occupying a motor vehicle owned by his employer, is entitled to receive his no-fault benefits from his employer, even where the employer is self-insured.

In reaching its conclusion, the Court discussed the longstanding split of authority which has existed regarding this issue at the Court of Appeals level. The Court noted that even though a self-insurer has all the obligations and rights of an insurer under the no-fault statute, the legislative history of the no-fault act and a "common sense reading" of §3114(3) indicates that the Legislature intended to permit an employee to sue an employer's no-fault carrier in situations where the employee was injured while occupying a vehicle owned by the employer. Because Yellow Freight was the owner and self-insurer of the vehicles involved, it is required to pay those benefits.

The Court of Appeals also held that under §3109(1) of the statute, the employer or the employer's no-fault carrier is entitled to deduct from no-fault personal protection insurance benefits any amounts paid in workers' compensation benefits to the injured employee.

Due to the fact that the Court of Appeals held that the employer was liable for no-fault benefits, the Court expressly refused to consider any potential liability of the plaintiff’s own private no-fault insurance company.

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